The Victorian Pride Centre in St Kilda, Melbourne, opened its door to the public for the first time this month.
Although there are other LGBTQ centers in Australia, they take up space in old buildings. What makes the Victorian Pride Centre on Fitzroy Street stand out is the fact it’s the first country’s purpose-built LGBTQ Centre, designed and built from scratch. And thanks to some eye-catching design, it’s definitely hard to miss.
Architects were invited to submit designs around four years ago, and the contract was won by Melbourne-based firms Brearley Architects+Urbanists (architecture) and Grant Amon Architects (interior architect)
Land for the project was donated by the City of Port Phillip, while the state government donated AUS$25 million ($18.4million) toward the financing of the project (the construction alone cost AUS$30million).
“It’s a very important community building. It couldn’t be more important. This is the only place where a lot of people will feel comfortable, completely at home and safe,” said architect James Brearley to ArchitectureAU.
“St Kilda is very much about exotic architecture, Moorish architecture, the architecture of otherness, the architecture of escape, the architecture of suspended belief. We looked at some way to capture that and express that in a contemporary way.”
The design is made up of circular and elliptical tubes that extend throughout the length of the building. Inside, there’s a stunning elliptical atrium which is open to a majority of the internal tenanted spaces.
Some of those taking up space in the center include Joy FM 94.9, the Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Council, Transgender Victoria, Switchboard Victoria, Melbourne Queer Film Festival, Koori Pride, Thorne Harbour Health and bookshop Hares and Hyenas, and The Australian Queer Archives, among others.
It will also provide spaces for art, culture, events and collaborations, with a gallery, multi-function theatre and shared meeting rooms. Its planned Rooftop Garden Pavilion is planned to be a destination space for events. In short, it couldn’t be more of a central hub to Melbourne’s LGBTQ community.
Speaking at the center’s opening on July 11, State Premier Daniel Andrews said, “Everyone deserves to be supported and celebrated, and the Victorian Pride Centre is part of our ongoing efforts to ensure this is the case. Equality is not negotiable.”
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The Victorian Pride Centre’s chair, Vo Hang, said: “As Australia’s first purpose-built pride center, this is where everyone can come together, honor the past, celebrate the present, and work towards a more inclusive future.
“We are open, welcoming to everyone, with a culture founded on diversity, inclusiveness and belonging. We are so thrilled to be the new home to a broad community of organizations, groups, vital services and social spaces.”
At the moment, some parts of the building is open to the public, with more due to be unveiled over the coming months. However, guided tours of the building can now be booked, either in-person or virtually. You can also see and learn more about the building in the video below.
Meanwhile, it was recently announced that Melbourne Pride will be going ahead on December 5, 2021. The event will mark the 40th anniversary of the decriminalization of gay sex in the state of Victoria. We’re sure you can expect plenty of Pride-related events at the new center around that time.